28 June 2010

STREEEETCH Those Natural Curls Girls!

Now that I'm past the one year mark of having natural tresses, I crave to do something different with my hair. We all get that itch- we want to color, cut, straighten, etc just to do something different. So after due diligence, research and more research I decided on what I was going to do.

My hair has a very tight curl pattern and is a 4B/C. The only way I can even show length is by blow drying followed by flatiron. Then when I wash it, it shrinks up. When I first started on my au naturale journey, I used to co-wash every other day and try different products until I found a routine that best suited my hair. Now I wash my hair and condition once a week, deep condition every two weeks and try not to comb or brush my hair to keep breakage to a minimum. During the week to get ready for work I'll apply either coconut oil, Jessie Curls ringlet potion or some other product and spray leave in conditioner. What I began to find over time is like many others who have natural hair, we often suffer from those dreaded "single strand knots." Knotting occurs when the curls intertwine and small knots form at the ends of your hair. You have to trim the ends to keep breakage from occurring. Since my curl pattern is tight, knotting has become a nuisance.

Can you imagine a head full of these little things? Yikes!

Often time as women of color we think we can't use what we consider "white" hair care products. While some products are just not suited for our hair type, for the most part we can use those products with minor adjustment. There has been a lot of curiosity about "curly" perms-especially those with natural hair. Many with natural hair have at one point or another has given it some thought. I have. This is what I found:

1. For my hair and type, which is coarse and has a tight "s" and "z" curl pattern, Alkaline perms are best for my hair. (Note "perm" will always refer to "curly" perm and not relaxer which straightens the hair)
2. The only reason why I seek to do a "curly" perm is to achieve a well defined curl pattern.

Now some may argue any chemical used to change or alter the state of your hair negates the term of "natural." For some that may be true and for others it's an alternative to find a way to create and style your natural hair in a way you cannot achieve otherwise. After searching Google and reading forums and product details, I found something that peaked my interest. It's called One 'n Only Curl Remover (Sally Beauty, $8.49)

I used the one for resistant hair. Don't let the box deceive you- it only has two things: Step 1, the curl remover and Step 2, the neutralizer. That's it. The curl remover comes in a small jar- much smaller than I had grown accustomed to when I was relaxing my hair and I was afraid it wouldn't be enough...fooled me...it was! It has a much looser consistency than a hair relaxer and much thinner. Some things to note before you decide to try this:

1. You cannot use this and apply permanent color the same day. You must wait one to two weeks.
2. If you are transitioning- meaning you have decided to grow out your natural hair and have not cut off your relaxed ends- you cannot use this. You must cut off your relaxed ends first. This is best suited for those who have already done the big chop (cut relaxed ends) and have been growing their hair out for sometime. Additionally, if you have relaxed hair- you cannot use this.
3. If you Henna your hair regularly, you cannot use this product. If it has been several months (at least 3 or more) since you last used Henna in your hair, you may use this.
4. If you co-wash or wash your hair on a daily basis, you are encouraged not to wash your hair for at least 48 hours after application.
5. Make sure your hair is in good condition before using this to lessen the chances of breakage and/or damage to your hair. Be gentle to your hair and condition regularly before using this product. Cut split ends or knots prior to application.
6. If you bleach, tint or highlight your hair make sure you get the one marked as such and read the warnings and directions before purchase and use.

Strange as this sounds, you wash your hair first. So I washed and conditioned my hair. This next step is crucial to getting good results. When drying your hair- the most important thing is not to "scrub" your hair with the towel. This can cause tangles, knotting and split ends. Simply wrap the towel around your hair, twist the long end and tighten it for about one minute. The key is to keep your hair wet but not completely dripping and not just damp. Your hair is in it's most vulnerable state when it's wet. You then apply the curl remover in the same manner as a hair relaxer except instructions state to apply 1 inch from roots using a relaxer brush and I wore gloves which is not provided in the kit (in my case I cheated just a little and did it within 1/2 inch of my roots-it's my hair after all). Then I scooped up small amounts and smoothed my hair in a downward motion to the ends until all the hair was saturated. The directions stated to use a comb to smooth the hair down and in my opinion I recommend you do not do that. Reason being, 1. it can cause breakage, 2. you may stretch you hair too much, 3. if your hair is thick and coarse- it's just not a good idea in any case. Instead, I hand stretched (gently of course) my hair. Within a matter of minutes my curls loosen significantly. I was a little scared it was relaxing my hair because my curls loosened so much!

After about fifteen minutes, I washed the curl remover out using just water then washed using the neutralizer. When washing out make sure you wash your hair in one direction to keep your hair from tangling. When I had less than half of the neutralizer left, I used hair conditioner along with the neutralizer and adjusted the water to cool from warm. Then I co-washed my hair with more conditioner still using cool water leaving a small amount left in my hair. I rang out my hair and shook it out and allowed it to air dry after applying a quick spritz of Aphogee Leave-In Conditioner. As my hair started to dry, my curls shrank just a little. What amazed me the most was that my hair now had length I couldn't achieve without blowing out and flat ironing my hair (which is very temporary) but I still have CURLS! Directions state to not braid, pull, use clips, barrettes, combs, excessive stress, washing/wetting and brushes for the first 48 hours following application. Look at my results!

After curl remover application

I LOVE the way my hair came out! And I don't feel like I've slighted my "natural" status in the least. The perm kit I purchased, I set aside because I was so happy with how my hair turned out. Now if you really want to make this interesting (it requires a little bit of work) straw (yes, using actual drinking straws!) set your hair prior to application (2-3 days before) and follow the directions that I mention above. When your hair is curly and then washed it gets even curlier but you have the added advantage of having curls that are more uniformed giving you better results when you apply the curl remover.

I still may plan to curly perm my hair, when I don't know. But when I do I'll be sure to give you the lowdown to help you decide whether or not you'd want to try it as well! Feel free to ask questions in the comments as I'll be happy to answer them!


  1. I should have out my remarks here 1st lol, so for those that understand the twitter format read from bottom to top:

    @SPProductions I've used added hair. Longest I can where them is two weeks...lol. I start getting stir crazy after that.

    @GimmeThatGlow Are u putting the sengalese twist in w/ added hair to last longer or just your own?

    @SPProductions True. But for now I'm just glad it's more manageable. I've put in sengalese twist to give my hair a break but is a pain to do

    @SPProductions the travel sizes are reasonable and last a while. I have some and it's great!

    @GimmeThatGlow How much are the "Jessie Curl" products? I'm frugal & if its over $7 I walk past it. lol

    @SPProductions Jessie Curl products are great...try that if you haven't already.

    @GimmeThatGlow shrinkage after a wash or air dry is funny bcuz it look as if u dont have length, but any smart person would know u have it

    @GimmeThatGlow Thats why I love sew ends, because I can put heat & water on them & leave my real hair alone.

    @GimmeThatGlow I feel you, the only chemical I put in is a Jet Black Rinse, they suck as well bcuz they dont last.

    @SPProductions having major shrinkage I can't really style it and using the curl remover is a blessing becuz I still have curls I can STYLE!

    @GimmeThatGlow Of trying to find a product that will keep moisture on my hair while in a pony tail puff or curls & while I wear in curly.

    @GimmeThatGlow I tried Mix-Chicks moisturizer, that was a fail, I tried carefree curl moisturizer & that was a fail. I'm n the process..cont

    @GimmeThatGlow If I even think about flat ironing it, its for 1 day ONLY bcuz once humidity hits it I'm sporting a wavy curled from lol

    @SPProductions I find with my hair, I don't always want to flatiron it because it takes too long and I want style it in something other...

    @GimmeThatGlow I wash once a wk, I let it dry w/o a blow dryer & I either put it in a ponytail braid or I put some conditioner on my puff

    @SPProductions You know I grappled over using it but I still maintain my natural status. Better than my hair breaking off due to knots!

    @GimmeThatGlow I see u over there justifying those chemicals u put in ur hair!! shame on u! lol #Natural No fried, dyed & laid 2 the side!

  2. Couldn't this be achieved with a texturizer? Arent you really just texturizing your hair?

  3. OH! and do you get a curl definition all over? I see some defined curls, but some frizz as well. I wanted to do something similar to what you did, but im kind of afraid of using chemicals

  4. I did have a little bit of frizz where I really didn't have any curl definition. It is a form of texturizing. I chose this particular brand because it actually showed what the results would look like and I just felt more comfortable using this brand. You will have some frizz if you tend to have hair that has some coil, "s" or "z" patterns and spots that really don't have definition-much like my hair. Also remember I noted my hair is 4B/C so I have a mix of definition. Like I explained in the post if you really would like most defined curls, straw set your hair prior to application. You can do a straw set afterward when your hair is more pliable but the remover will just stretch the curl because you set it that way. The remover in my case just worked off my natural hair pattern. I will say if you have apprehension about using chemicals in your hair seek the advise of a hairstylist or seek out others who have a similar hair type and process (natural, relaxed, etc). The product was very direct and to the point and I didn't sustain any burns or breakage, etc. Understand your hair and type before pursuing altering your hair.

  5. can we see a before and after pic??? All I see is the after pic, but I'm missing the pic that shows how the hair looked right before you put all the stuff in your hair to achieve the end result. A side by side comparison would be great. Thanks

  6. You mention using drinking straws to assist with straw setting curls to your hair. How exactly do you put them in and get them to actually stay in your hair? Can you maybe do a post on this, show a couple of pictures of how you put them in, and the end results when they are done? Or direct me to some websites or something that does? Thanks


On Instagram

© Awkwardly April. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.